On The NBA Beat

Attentively bringing the National Basketball Association to you

Author: Aaron Fischman (page 1 of 4)

Bill Bohl: “Everything Makes More Sense When [Jimmy Butler’s] on the Court”

Under coach Tom Thibodeau again, Jimmy Butler is leading the league in minutes per game in his first season with the Timberwolves (Catherine Salaun/Creative Commons).

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

A little more than six months after our latest Timberwolves-themed episode, things are looking pretty good for the team currently fourth in the West. Aaron checked in with Billy Bohl, writer for ESPN True Hoop’s A Wolf Among Wolves to discuss a slew of topics, including but not limited to coach Tom Thibodeau’s minutes allocation, 22-year-old phenoms Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, and Jimmy Butler’s multifaceted impact on the organization’s success. Feel free to wolf down some highlighted sections below:

10:00-10:51: “I think it [the third seed] is preferable [to the fourth seed]. But again, you don’t want to look too far ahead…I wouldn’t want to face Russell Westbrook in a playoff series. Right now if they were the third seed, the Thunder would be the sixth seed. No disrespect to them obviously [but] I would much rather face Portland in the first round. It’s hard to decipher just which route you’d want to take. To be perfectly frank, I don’t think they’d have a chance against Houston either. I think they’d be in big trouble in the second round no matter which of those two teams [Houston or Golden State] they faced.”

15:05-15:56: “The Wolves aren’t terribly deep, especially on the wing, and they need Karl-Anthony Towns to be on court when Jimmy Butler is sitting. So they have to stagger those minutes, and that ends up driving up Karl’s minutes a bunch. I don’t worry about it too much as far as Wiggins or Towns is concerned. The part that troubles me a little: I try to be as optimistic as I can, but Jimmy Butler has already had a couple little tweaks to his knee this season. Continue reading

Ian Levy: Oladipo Spearheads Pacers’ Newfound “Kinetic Explosiveness”

Victor Oladipo’s first season with the Pacers has been a smashing success. If he can sustain his superb shooting, guest Ian Levy believes he should be an All-Star (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Wikimedia Commons).


Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

The Indiana Pacers have bounced back from a subpar start to stand 18-14. In an Eastern Conference crowded with many solid, second-tier teams looking to separate themselves from the pack, Indiana is more than holding its own thanks to an elite offense led by Victor Oladipo. Ian Levy, NBA editor and columnist for FanSided and Editor-in-Chief of The Step Back, helps us break down the team he knows best. We’ll cover Indiana’s captivating comeback ability, the sudden emergence of Oladipo and so much more…Who’s your (Hoosier?) favorite podcast for interview excerpts?

6:42-7:28: “If he [Victor Oladipo] can sustain what he’s doing shooting the basketball, especially on those pull-ups, that sort of locks him into this tier where he’s, I’d say, a clear-cut All-Star [and] one of the best shooting guards in the league. So I think that’s probably the hope for the Pacers rather than him somehow getting better than he is now. He’s given them everything they could ask for. And that aggression and passion is such a different aesthetic than the Pacers have had the past couple years. Even when they were good, back in the Hibbert-David West-George Hill-Paul George-Lance Stephenson [days], back in those days, they didn’t have the same sort of kinetic explosiveness.” Continue reading

Max Rappaport: “Now 76ers Care About Wins & Losses Too”

76ers head coach Brett Brown is displaying much more trust in his players this season, argues Max Rappaport (TastyPoutine/Creative Commons).


Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

With redshirt rookie Ben Simmons garnering heavy praise around the league and Joel Embiid looking healthy and better than ever, the long-tanking 76ers are finally winning games, beginning to reap the benefits of their ambitious Process, which Sam Hinkie launched nearly four and a half years ago. As Simmons comfortably leads the Rookie of the Year chase, filling virtually every corner of the stat sheet, he’s surrounded by improved shooter Robert Covington, veteran free-agent acquisition J.J. Redick and, more broadly, a considerably bolstered roster compared to a season ago. Philadelphia’s Defensive Efficiency has cracked the league’s top 10, and Brett Brown’s squad is playing with confidence and even some semblance of consistency. Max Rappaport, co-host of the 76ers-themed Stepover Podcast and contributor to Complex Sports and Bleacher Report, helps us delve deeply into this up-and-coming Eastern Conference team. To close the show, Joe Borelli of the SuperFlight Podcast makes a special appearance to rave about Simmons, whom he affectionately refers to as an “anomaly” and a “physical freak.” The (numerical) time stamps below are only approximate, but the quotes contained inside are the real deal:

6:42-7:25 (MR): “I think the hardcore Process fans, maybe their enthusiasm level hasn’t really changed or it’s been shifted in a different way. They’re no longer cult followers of lovable losers. Now they care about wins and losses too, and that makes it, in some ways, more fun, because the team’s better and Embiid’s playing and Simmons has been awesome. But at the same time, it was kind of a win-win before…Now, it’s like half the time you’re kind of pissed after a game.” Continue reading

Duncan Smith: Drummond’s Game Sees “Complete & Total Shift”

Pistons center Andre Drummond dramatically improved his free-throw shooting in advance of the 2017-18 season, and that’s not all, according to guest Duncan Smith.


Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

The Detroit Pistons have bounced back from an incredibly disappointing 2016-17 campaign to begin this season 14-8. In the process, Detroit is securing come-from-behind victories with great frequency – half of its wins have occurred in games it trailed by double-digits – the second unit is dominating opposing benches and Andre Drummond is showcasing a vastly expanded offensive repertoire. Duncan Smith, contributor to The Athletic Detroit and Bball Breakdown, operates as our tour guide on this exhilarating exploration of the Motor City’s NBA club. We’ll discover how good the Pistons are and where they can still improve. Duncan’s game was clicking on all cylinders. Some highlights are excerpted below:

6:09-7:03: “I think it’s concerning when your starting lineup can’t get you out to good starts, and you need your bench reserves, led by Ish Smith – everybody loves Ish Smith but he is one of the worst shooters in NBA history. When that’s what you’re relying on for stability, it’s a bit problematic, at the very least…When together, they just aren’t effective…I think that’s it’s going to have to be understood and dealt with before long.”

13:32-14:11: “It’s a complete and total shift. Basically everything that we thought we knew about Andre Drummond has kind of gone out the window. And I think that it really calls into question everything we thought about his ceiling. We don’t really know how good he can be anymore, and that’s really exciting too, because I think we kind of had an idea that maybe he would just be one of the best rebounders ever who also isn’t a huge drag on offense. Continue reading

Adam Mares: “Guys Are Figuring Out New Roles Around Millsap”

In Paul Millsap’s first season in town, Adam Mares sees clear contributions on both sides of the ball. He also believes the forward’s teammates are still adjusting to their new roles (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

The 5-5 Denver Nuggets are currently about as good as their record would suggest, according to this week’s guest, Adam Mares, host of the Locked on Nuggets podcast and site manager for SB Nation’s Denver Stiffs. He argues that despite the team’s considerable continuity, many players are still adjusting to new roles this season. In addition, the Nuggets are still incorporating Paul Millsap into their game plan, particularly on the offensive end. Adam discusses this process, Denver’s many young guards and much more in this action-packed episode. He strikes gold throughout, but here are some examples (the exact time stamps slightly vary from user to user depending on the length of one’s customized ads):

7:28-8:23: “[Nikola] Jokic really quarterbacked the offense last year from the center position – he was a point-center. And that wasn’t just a cliché. He really was the facilitator on offense…Steve Kerr was in town yesterday with the Warriors, and he said that the Nuggets’ offense last season was like a pinwheel where Jokic was the center of that and everybody’s kind of operating and cutting and spacing around him. Well, this season, they haven’t really gotten to that yet – I think they’re moving in that direction. They’re playing through Paul Millsap a lot as I think you would expect – he’s a four-time All-Star – and guys are just kind of figuring out new roles around Millsap, Millsap’s learning how to play off of Jokic and Jokic off of Millsap. And so, right now, in particular, their half-court offense has been pretty bad. Not just a little bit of a step back, but I think a huge step back.” Continue reading

Clippers Basketball “Transports” Will & Grace Co-Creator David Kohan

Patrick Beverley, who was acquired in the Chris Paul-centered blockbuster trade with the Rockets, is David Kohan’s favorite new addition and he tells us why (Pkantz/Creative Commons).

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

David Kohan, best known for co-creating the pioneering hit comedy series “Will & Grace” is actually a huge Los Angeles Clippers fan, attending games as early as the late ‘80s. In this episode, Aaron had the opportunity to talk with David about both the return of Will & Grace after 11 years off the air and his beloved Clippers. We’ll hear about a wide array of topics, including how David processes the loss of Chris Paul, his take on Blake Griffin’s newfound 3-point stroke and why Patrick Beverley is our guest’s favorite new addition. Some non-Clippers areas covered include why the show has returned, what, if anything, is now different with the program and when David might collaborate with his sister, Jenji, who created “Weeds” and “Orange Is the New Black.” Some clips, pun intended, are excerpted below:

*But, first, two quick editor’s notes:

  • Early on, when David is referencing the 2016-17 Clippers’ hot start through 10 games, Aaron remarks, “14-1 or something like that.” In fact, those Clippers began 10-1 and 14-2. So he was close, but no cigar.
  • Between the interview recording and release, rookie point guard Milos Teodosic’s foot MRI results were revealed. He’ll be sidelined indefinitely with a plantar fascia injury.

4:31-4:50: “There was something about last season that felt joyless. In fact, that should have been what it said on the T-shirts: joyless. This year so far, in the two-game sample size, they seem looser and freer. It seems more fun.”

10:30-11:54: “The thing that I will miss about Chris Paul is he was the guy that, in any crunch-time situation, he was the one you trusted the most. I trusted Chris Paul as a scorer, as a defender, as a team leader, as the guy who was going to make the right decision more than anybody else on the team by far. So it was scary initially when he was traded. Continue reading

Sekou Smith (Eastern Conference Preview): Giannis’ Next Challenge? Being Great Every Game

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t turn 23 until early December, but that hasn’t stopped some from mentioning him as a fringe MVP candidate. Guest Sekou Smith thinks it could happen (Erik Drost/Creative Commons).

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

A number of stars, including Paul George, Jimmy Butler and Paul Millsap, no longer play in the East, potentially leaving the conference with ample playoff spots available for the taking. In addition, the reigning Eastern Conference finalists recently swapped star point guards, adding a special flavor to their existing rivalry. Meanwhile, teams like the Raptors, Bucks and Wizards hope their various brands of continuity can vault them to an elite class. To help us sort through it all, Sekou Smith, NBA.com writer and host of the Hang Time podcast, appears for a can’t-miss episode. By all means…sample some Sekou snippets:

4:59-5:35: “[Dwyane Wade]’s been a starter basically his entire career. I think in his career, he’s maybe come off the bench 10, 11 times. To ask him to come in and play a role as a bench guy right now, [considering] the fact that he’s not a great 3-point shooter, that would have been asking a lot for him to come in cold and be effective and make an impact on that team.  I think, as a starter, you give him a chance to not only do what he’s always done as a scorer… but you give him an opportunity to get in a rhythm… and to play off of LeBron at a high level, which you know he can do.”

10:00-10:14: “The team that I like, that’s kind of my wild-card team in the East, is Milwaukee. I think they do have a depth of talent that could put them in a position to challenge for one of those top two or three spots if a bunch of things go right for them.” Continue reading

Dave Zirin: “There Is No Stay in Your Lane…All the Rules Are Gone”

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has become one of the league’s most vocal advocates on various social issues (Zereshk/Creative Commons).

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

In these unprecedented times in which sports is constantly intersecting with politics and society, Dave Zirin of The Nation and the Edge of Sports podcast joins the show for an important conversation. Below, you can find some highlights from the interview:

6:31-7:18: “There is no stay in your lane at this point. All the rules are gone, and I think the very existence of Donald Trump should remove this idea, even as a debate. But the reason you’ve heard it step up in recent years is precisely because we have this Donald Trump[-led] racist backlash taking place in this country. And part of this racist backlash involves squelching voices of dissent. I would argue there’s been no cultural sphere quite like the world of sports in terms of being a center of anti-racist activism. It has been the voice, the clarion call, the moral conscience about racism in the United States over the last five years, dating back to, I would argue, the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.”

12:49-13:18: “This has always been part of his [LeBron James’] DNA. This has always been a part of the kind of legacy he wanted to leave. So while LeBron James, I would argue, has been strongly affected by the Black Lives Matter movement, by social media, he’s also somebody who came into the league with this idea of thinking to himself, ‘I want to be a global icon like [Muhammad] Ali. I don’t want to be defined just by my bank account but [by] the kind of political contribution that I can leave behind.’” Continue reading

Matt Hill on His Projects, Lonzo Ball Fascination

Lonzo Ball has reeled our guest Matt Hill back into being a full-fledged Lakers fan (TonytheTiger/Wikimedia Commons).

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

The creative Matt Hill, Super Hoopers cofounder and cohost, graces us with his presence, as we discuss a wide selection of topics, ranging from his viral animated comedy web series “Spurs Special Forces” to Lonzo Ball, bandwagon fans and so much more. A trio of excerpts can be found below:

6:50-7:06: Matt discusses longtime friend Randall Park [actor-comedian]’s unique contributions to “Spurs Special Forces.” 

“He’s just an old friend. So I was doing the Spurs [Special Forces video], and I thought it’d be funny to have him even though he knows nothing about basketball. He has no idea who Manu Ginobili is. Basically his impression of Manu Ginobili is almost like half-Scarface. It’s like a high-pitched Scarface.” Continue reading

Celebrating the 100th Show

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

For this special episode, your hosts will break precedent and not write too much below the audio player. Most importantly, we sincerely appreciate the myriad contributions to our project and made this episode to help spell those out. It’s a long episode, but one which we hope you’ll find well worth your while.

Interview Timestamps:

13:25-23:52: Lang Whitaker

44:24-51:52: Andy Liu

52:40-57:40: Justin Faudree

58:50-1:06:16: Josh Baumgard

1:06:41-1:13:40: Dan Feldman

1:14:52-1:22:15: Nick Denning

1:24:17-1:29:16: Adena Jones (formerly Andrews)

1:30:41-1:41:12: Michael Pina

1:42:15-1:51:30: Chris Axmann

A few other notable features:

23:52-26:59: Fun Fact Montage

27:10-44:24: Andy Liu Montage


You can subscribe to, rate and review On the NBA Beat on Apple Podcasts.

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

Older posts

© 2018 On The NBA Beat

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑